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Jessica Mays

New York City, NY

Jessica Mays is a composer and pianist residing in New York City. She holds a Master of Music Composition from McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. Mays’ music has been performed by a variety of soloists and ensembles both locally and abroad, including the Playground Ensemble, Nebula Ensemble, the Lamont Symphony Orchestra, Montreal’s’ Ensemble Paramirabo, Ensemble Lunatik, Thin Edge New Music Collective, and many others. Her music was featured on Loon Lake Live’s 20th season in New York (2016). Mays was a featured composer and performer for the Cluster Music Festival 2013 installment titled “POP + NOISE.” She was also selected as a guest composer for The Labo de musique contemporaine de Montréal (2013). Mays was selected as a finalist for the ASCAP Foundation’s Morton Gould Young Composer Award for her piano piece Four Disconcerting Monologues. In 2008, she was a recipient of the “Outstanding Composer” award, nominated by DU faculty.

Mays currently manages the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers program alongside Program Founder and Artistic Director, Jon Deak.

On Shapes and Figures

Quintet for string quartet and bass clarinet (Premiered by Loon Lake Ensemble, summer 2016).

This suite poses a new set of challenges with each movement – each movement is a test on communication between ensemble mates. Musicians must work as a cohesive unit, despite peculiarities presented with tempo, thematic materials, and stage setup.

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Duo, for violin and piano

Featuring Fany Fresard (violin) and Mélanie Cullin (piano)
Premiered at The Montreal Contemporary Music Lab, summer 2013

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This project experiments with contrasts to illustrate the transition from life to death. Life is characterized through vocalizations and rich, fast-paced, climbing harmonies. Death is exemplified through the eventual absence of these materials. The music vigorously shifts in character from animated to meditative, but the conductor’s baton recurs, continuously ticking away time as the ensemble gradually succumbs to the sound of their percussive rattling.
Elegy was premiered by Nebula Ensemble in March 2015 premiere.

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